Monday, June 30, 2008

Quantum Of Solace Teaser Trailer

I love James Bond movies, and after only one film, Daniel Craig is shaping up to be the best bond since Connery.

Hope this one comes out in Japan before Xmas.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

CHESS 2008

CHESS 2008 Day Two - before dinner - 20.jpg
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

CHESS is the Camp for High School English Students of Shimane. We have it every year in the early summer. High School students from all over Shimane prefecture come together for 3 days of fun and English activities led by over 40 JETs.

This year we changed things up a bit, having a Super Quiz on the final day instead of the traditional skits. And it was my job to put the quiz together. :)

So I visited each workshop to gather information for the quiz questions and I came up with an idea to have to the students ask the JETs six questions over the first two days and then quiz them about the JET's answers. It worked well as a way to make the kids talk to the JETs during meals and freetime.

I posted over 140 pictures to my Flickr site, so click on this picture to be taken there and enjoy the pics!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Angela Aki - Kiss Me Goodbye (live)

Ms Aki is one of my favorite Japanese pop singers. Unlike the majority of female pop stars here, she isn't image driven, but instead is a true musician, writing and performing her own songs.

This song got famous since it was featured in a very popular video game. You can download it from iTunes in both this Japanese version as well as an English language version.

From wikipedia:
Angela Aki speaks English and Japanese as she was raised in Japan, but moved to Hawaii at the age of fifteen where she graduated from 'Iolani School. From there she moved on to George Washington University where she graduated with majors in politics and music.

Good stuff!

Nigel Kennedy, Vivaldi - Winter I

I'm a lazy person. I try not to be, but my desire to just sit around often overwhelms my more productive nature.

What does this have to do with masterful violin playing?
Well, being as lazy as I am most of the time, I have an intense admiration for people that possess skills or talents that must have taken them hour upon hour of dedication and practice to accumulate.

Professional and Olympic athletes, virtuoso musicians and singers, scientists, prolific authors, etc.

I've tried to learn a musical instrument - it's not easy. It takes hard works, hours of practice and diligence, and of course, a smidgen of talent helps.

So I find myself coming across these types of videos on YouTube and just watching with a big smile on my face - I'm glad some people are willing to sacrifice for their art and intellect and give the world what we need - beauty and intelligent information.

Some people ask me if I have faith in anything, and I always say yes - I have faith in other human beings here on this planet right now.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

777 posts and changes to my blog

Hello All -

If you've been a regular reader of my blog here, then perhaps you've noticed small changes that have happened over the past few months.

I stopped blogging like this - pure text - and started posting more and more from my YouTube page and updates from my Flickr picture site.

I kinda miss just typing my thoughts and updates on my life here in Japan. So I hope to do more of these types of posts in the next year.

Also, most of my "blogging" time has been spent recently producing a series of video blogs (vlogs) on my YouTube page aimed at helping new JETs on their upcoming journey to Japan.
I've gotten some great feedback from many soon-to-be ALTs, and I'll continue making these vlogs for the next 6 weeks or so.

If you're reading this post and checking out my blog as a result of seeing the link over at my YouTube page, then WELCOME. I hope you find some of the information here helpful as well.
While I haven't blogged as much in the past year about my life as a JET, if you search thru the archives, I think you'll find lots of interesting posts about what life is like for a rural ALT.

When I logged on tonight, I noticed that I've posted to this blog 777 times, making this post #778. Wow! I started this blog back in August of 2004, and after re-reading some of my older posts, I think it's an interesting time-capsule of my time spent here in Shimane.

The biggest change to my blog (and YouTube page) is the deletion of pictures and videos that feature my great students.
After getting some feedback from some of the teachers I work with regarding Privacy laws here in Japan, I've decided to remove almost all the pictures and videos I have up publically that include my kids.
I hated doing this. My students are the reason I'm here, and they really enjoyed my blog and getting to see themselves, etc. But I want to respect their privacy and keep everyone happy, so the pictures and videos are gone for now.
If that was the main reason you checked out my blog, then I'm sorry, but they won't be coming back.

I will still post pics to my FLICKR account, but I'll be more selective about it. And all my pictures are still on my site as "private" pictures, so if you know me and you've added me as a "friend" on Flickr, then you should still be able to see all my pics. I just can't make them available to the general public anymore. Same goes for my vids on YouTube. If I know who you are and you have a YT account, add me as a friend and you should still be able to see all my vids.

I've gained a bunch of subscribers despite all the videos I had to delete, and I suspect that many are new ALTs, so I'm glad that the videos are helpful. I have plenty of ideas to keep me busy for the next month or so.

My sumo vids are popular too, and I'll be reporting on each tournament this year. Next up is the Nagoya tourney in July.

I'll be busy this summer with the normal stuff - getting my kids ready for speech contests, taking some needed vacation days, etc. But unlike last year, when no new JETs came to Izumo, this year we have 4 new ALTs coming to the Izumo board of education and a few more High School ALTs coming as well. Since I'm the only ALT staying another year in the Izumo BoE, I'm sure I'll be busy showing the newbies around and helping them adjust to their new lives in rural Japan.
I have one more year to go on JET from August 2008 to August 2009. I'm the first ever ALT to stay 5 years at one school. It's been an interesting ride. I still don't like having a 2nd school, but I've come to really love my new kids at Hamayama Chu, and so I am happy that I got the chance to meet them and be their teacher.
Things could change once again as far as what schools I'll have this summer, so I'll keep you posted.

If you've been with me since the first 100 posts back in 2004 or just recently started checking out my blog, I appreciate the time you spend with my thoughts and ramblings. I hope you enjoy your time here. :)

Take Care,
Jason H.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Yui is a Japanese singer who I really like. She's also really popular with my students.

Enjoy this cheerful vid.